Project Do Better: A Call for Helping Hands

    Project Do Better works  to create a society where every child is safe, and that is more fully inclusive for all of us. 

       Feedback and  Reviewers needed on the community manual for Project Do Better

     Project Do Better presents a vision of a world in which we all work toward a full safety net, and a better tomorrow, for all of us. 

   I have a request to make:

   I believe that planning ahead is a good idea, so:


  We need, still,  a  central portal set up for the project.

Oh, and a logo, please, although a friend of a friend may be working on this, not verified yet.

   The sections, of the Do Better book were posted every Wondering Wednesday,  seek  to build up a Community of Interest around this vision to both share the idea, and eventually also help to share the work, as this project will obviously be inter-generational. I’ve tried to explain the entire idea in the post for the Preface to this book, which several readers found helpful in clarifying my idea.  I am  seeking other Willing Workers On Our Future, hopefully younger than I am, who wish to take up the baton.

So, any sort of way that anyone would like to participate is great, from

1. simply liking and commenting on these posts, to

2. re-posting or otherwise sharing any Project Do Better posts,  to

3. posting your own publications on The Educational Round Robin blog, if you wish, and I can give you publishing authority to do this, as I’ve already given others, to

4. actively collaborating on  the project detailed in the book, or even just reviewing the manual in places like GoodReads, or even on The Archive, as there are many areas to subdivide, between now and the next 60 years, and many hands will be needed.


   So, in terms of what you can do, there are as many ways to contribute to this work as there are individuals with their own callings to read and share, to write, to draw, to teach, to build, etc! 

   In terms of being a part of what works to make the world a more just place, certainly there are many ways. What is essential to hold on to is the idea that there is more than just the one song, strike, campaign, movement, or even decade: each action that we take must be tied to a larger picture, so that that movement will keep generating progress for the whole, and to remember that there is always a next step to take.


Action Prompts:

1.) Share  your thoughts on how this project  could be improved, in the comments, here, please.  Consider sharing some ideas you may have on how our society can solve homelessness and child abuse, starting right now.

2.) Share your thoughts on how we can build empathy in our society today

3.) Write a story, post or tweet that uses those thoughts.


Click here to read, if you like:

Science Fiction/Fantasy Shows,  Lupin, or Money Heist

Holistic High School Lessons,

Thoughtful Readers, if you are on Twitter, please consider following   #Project Do Better.


Creative Commons License
Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

117 thoughts on “Project Do Better: A Call for Helping Hands

          1. I had a person offer, some time ago, but need to find her again:
            “commented 18 sept 2020…

            This email exchange resulted from my reply to her WP post, in this comment:

            Hey, Shira! I am responding letting you know that I have received your email! 
            On Mon, Apr 8, 2019, 1:16 PM Shira wrote:

            Hi, there, Indig.

              I’m just emailing to be sure I got it right, and to put it on my to-do list.  Hope you had a good weekend!

            “Hey, thank you! I’m writing up a chapter list and book proposal based on my Four Freedoms Movement idea that will eventually include and lead to Open Borders, if you want to be in on the crit?



            Liked by 3 people

    1. Absolutely, if you wish! I’m looking for writers, for sharers and re-posters, for “dreamers, shapers, singers, and makers” of all stripes, since the variety of tasks available in this project includes writing, and more.

      “Many hands make light the work.”

      Liked by 5 people

        1. Not at this point, really, no: what’s posted is mostly general framework about the Kindness Vision, and how it needs to be a long term project, why, and in what suggested phases. Each phase emphasizes a particular tool set development, along side empathy. I think that articles on any part of Phase I might be most useful, right now, or also, articles on how this project will need to build on Phase I work over the entire 60-80 year time frame, if persuasion around long term thinking is more your interest?

          This year should start Phase I, which I’ve made a hashtag and a Page for on my top menu (although I’ve moved the SPS Universal Health care issue out to phase III, and replaced it with settling for more local public health clinics, in Phase I):

          So basically, any topic you like, relating the project back to some striking current event would be most helpful, I imagine.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. Universal Health Care as crucial to have (along with long term therapy) before passing any Right to Die laws is a topic ripe with possibilities. Many different posts could be written on that one alone, to fit into both Phase I and Phase III.


          Liked by 3 people

      1. Thank you. A vegan comic is like any other comic except the central characters are vegan 😀 When we read a story it spoils it for us if the characters we liked eat meat or go fishing or buy a leather jacket. When these things happen in a children’s story they send a message – they tell the child that it’s ok to do these things. The good guys do it so it must be ok. It’s normal. Well, vegan comics do not pretend it’s ok to use, abuse and consume animals, they create a new normal. So a vegan comic is not necessarily about veganism, it is simply a story in which animal exploitation is not normalised.

        Liked by 5 people

  1. Also, since I am a checklist person, it really feels to me like the first thing this project needs is a very long spreadsheet listing all of the tasks, by Phase, needing breakdown lists or steps, which would make it easier, like people do with Google Sheets, to take specific tasks and mark it so that others know that someone is already working on that bit, like, say, creating an app for a 1-minute activity of some sort (details to come with chapter 7-10….), if that makes sense?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Checklists and tables are excellent. If you’re interested in a relevant resource (in the form of Google Sheet), here’s one that I made that anyone can copy & use:

      But there are also lots of great specifically-designed project mgt apps for collaboration & planning; I’ve tried both Trello & Asanta and they’re useful, if a bit overwhelming (just because projects are made up of so many to-dos & it’s a lot to compile and maintain those, while adapting to software).

      I think the app Clubhouse would be useful for you & your readers to come together. (It’s online synchronous audio conversations, where the host can choose who to “bring on stage” (allow/invite to unmute). And like in the physical world, conversations disappear when they end (as in, aren’t recorded). Just a thought. 🙂

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Thanks, Masha, I was hoping that someone would start up a g-sheet for this project, but it may help to see chapters 7-10 for the set of tasks that will be needed. Maybe a set of sheets per Phase will make it more manageable, as there will need to be a set for each community, but still some way of coordinating it over all.
        Audio may be good for monolingual communities, but for those working to coordinate tasks among speakers of various languages, also while recording minutes of meetings (this is mentioned starting in chapter 7, I believe, which is not posted yet, as I am still editing the 1st Draft of the book…), hmm…

        Liked by 4 people

  2. Hi Shira, I am going to post my pieces of feedback in separate comments on this post, grouped by category of feedback. You can also find a Google Doc with all of this in one spot via this link:
    (This is set up for anyone-with-the-link-can-comment, so you or your readers can add comments if you want.)

    Most of the feedback I’m giving is about the Do Better book (version 2.1, since that’s the one I had when I was reading it). However, I want to start with a general comment that I think that given how much you have already written and created on this topic, I would suggest that more of your time be spent on spreading what you’ve already written instead of putting out daily additional new content. (Which isn’t to say that there isn’t value in creating additional content. You are obviously a very skilled writer with deep expertise. But I’m referring to how to efficiently spend efforts to make this particular project succeed.) I address this more specifically in the detailed feedback.

    Additionally, I think it would be valuable to make sure that the main hub for this project is very focused and specific. Right now, Project Do Better is on your personal blog and is amid a variety of different topics. Because you want/need this to be a community project and because it’s incredibly important that people are clear on what the project is & how they can support it, you need a landing page that is just about Project Do Better. I would not make this in a blog format (since then effort must be made to constantly make new content or risk looking out-of-date) but rather a simple page that has a big picture explanation (preferably including visual formats like an infographic), the option to click for more detailed explanations, social media graphics & suggested text for spreading the word, and a forum where the community of volunteers comes together to work on the project. This could be a simple website made on Squarespace or perhaps a LinkTree page.

    Additionally, I would suggest simplifying the format of your blog posts. Right now, there is a lot of text and links that you repeat in most blog posts. This can make it harder to quickly identify the new content and it’s a bit overwhelming to look at. I would suggest instead letting the blog header links & sidebars take care of sending people to those and have the bulk of each blog post be the new content. I would also suggest rewriting your Action Prompts so that they are grouped in 1 paragraph. The way you write them now makes it look like these are multiple prompts but I think they are usually actually multiple steps or elaborations on the same prompt. So having it be 1 Action Prompt means that people will see it as a single task to do as opposed to a bunch of options that feel overwhelming and therefore might lead them to doing little.

    Additionally, instead of posting your GED lessons as blog posts, I would instead make a resource that people can opt-in to that starts sending them those lessons daily after they sign up. Email marketing systems can do that pretty simply using the automation workflows. The project of helping people get free GED lessons is related to but I think has a different audience from the rest of what you write on, so I think it decreases the clarity to have both intermingled. Plus, by using the opt-in format, you always know people are starting at the first day and you are also collecting email addresses that you could also use to inquire whether they want to be involved in the Do Better project. Also, I think that relevant people are more likely to spread the word about “put in your email here and you’ll be sent GED lessons” rather than to a blog that includes GED lessons among other topics.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. ” format of your blog posts.”

      Good point, but since most of my views come via the WP Reader, and mostly for story/narrative/rant posts, they don’t see the sidebars, and hence see nothing but the post itself.

      I can at least make more distance and clear up the template for future posts (I have about 54 scheduled ahead so that I can work on my novel…), and make the Action Prompts an Action Prompt paragraph, as you suggest further.

      Will do both of those for next year’s posts, for what has not already been scheduled (so that change will take about a month or so…).

      The GED lesson plans are already up on Teachers Pay Teachers as a free pdf, but I don’t think either TPT nor The Archive have a way to link the pdf to an email list. Using one of my backup blogs as a GED repeater was an idea I had earlier, but it just got to require too much energy. Since the lesson plans are all out there for free, I’m happy if someone else takes on that part of the project. I just keep noticing that the lessons get more views when I post one on the blog.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Feedback #1 – Getting Contributors

    I think the most important thing to prioritize is spreading the word about this project, including about the kind of support that is needed. It’s an absolutely enormous project which needs buy-in from an enormous amount of individuals and organizations. My input here is based primarily on what I’ve seen discussed in business contexts. It is possible that a different strategy would be needed since the purpose is different here, but I think there are enough parallels that it should still be relevant. That being said, I am not an expert on any of this, so please take my suggestions with a grain of salt.

    One of the pieces of advice I’ve heard most often is to go to where people are already spending their time/focus. It’s very hard to get a lot of eyes on a specific blog, so it can be better to spend time/effort on getting in front of other people’s audiences with a clear message and a call-to-action. One option is that the call-to-action is to fill out a survey that asks them about what role they want to have. Of course, someone would need to be responsible for reaching out to each person who fills it out. To prevent this roadblock, it might make sense instead to have the call-to-action be for people to sign up for a forum (on a website that many people are already familiar with, like Reddit or Discord) and ask everyone to make an initial post that answers the questions that the survey would have. Either way, there are considerations like making sure people understand what they are signing up for, will their efforts be compensated or not, will their written contributions be attributed to them, etc.

    I recommend a podcast guest-tour, where you come on relevant shows to discuss the ideas and tell them your call to action. Additionally, I recommend guest-writing blog posts for some blogs. To save time, I would suggest writing a few blog posts (by revising/streamlining a few that you’ve already written) and then emailing relevant blogs to ask them if they’d like to post any of these. Just make sure that for both the podcast & the blog, everyone you move forward with is ok with including a link to your call-to-action (since some people don’t let guests share links). There are a lot of resources online that describe how to set up podcast guest tours and to guest-blog, including DIY and outsourced options.

    Obviously what I’m describing is a lot of effort and I know you’ve said you don’t have many spoons left. I can relate to an extent and it’s why I’m not currently doing these efforts for my own projects, because it just sounds way too exhausting at the moment. That being said, you are currently the expert on this project so you’ll be the best one to speak to it, and there are some ways to reduce the effort such as outsourcing (paying a virtual assistant or finding a committed volunteer), using text expansion software to avoid rewriting the same info repeatedly, using a scheduler like Calendly so that you can easily provide people options of when you’re available to record a podcast or to discuss volunteering, etc.

    This project requires a lot of people to be continually & ethically organized, which is also obviously an enormous endeavor. I think it’s worth trying to figure out if there are any existing organizations that are closely aligned with this project and see if they might want to take it on. Of course there are risks when a project that requires so many different kinds of perspectives is taken on by one group. Nevertheless, having an existing organization take on the project is likely going to be much less effort and more sustainable than to build and run all of this yourself. And while I understand that you are working on getting additional contributors who will take on parts of the effort, until you have multiple people who have committed to putting in a lot of energy into the project long-term, you would be the one who would need to be pushing this project forward (unless, like I’m suggesting, you can bring it to an organization(s) who will move forward with it).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “finding a committed volunteer” and “bring it to an organization(s)”

      Those have been my two primary goals, upon finishing enough of the book that it will make sense as an explanatory set of proposed guidelines for the project.

      So far, no org. comes to mind, and no volunteers have come forward, which is why I’ve been focusing on finishing the book. Once the book is out in the Public Domain, I no longer have to be the expert on the project, and indeed, I can’t be, since the project is meant to be adapted by each community to fit it’s own needs, within the larger societal context, of course. My main concern is whether or not I have gotten that point across in the 3rd draft of the book.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I know a few people who have podcasts on relevant topics. If I reach out to them and they’re interested/able, would you come on their show(s) to explain the project and do a call to action(s) related to getting volunteers? As in, if the effort of finding the show to guest on has been taken care of, do you have the energy (and decent audio quality) to be interviewed?

        Liked by 3 people

  4. Feedback #2 – Hashtag & Virality

    – Did you come up with the hashtag #publicdomaininfrastructure? If you’re open to changing it: I’d suggest doing (more) hashtag research. It seems too long and not like something people are likely to be excited about using. I think it’s also opaque unless someone is already very familiar with this. Perhaps #InfrastructureForAll or #EnoughForAll. A movement should have minimal numbers of hashtags and the ones used should be maximally sticky. Personally, the phrase “enough for all” has consistently stood out to me and stuck in my mind from your writing. And it seems easy to understand/spread given the MedicareForAll movement. Apparently the city of Calgary uses the hashtag #EnoughForAll, which might be a problem (confusion) or it might be a good jumping off point (if their group likes what you’re doing and wants to promote your project and be part of the collaborations).

    – I suggest including in the book (or in printable worksheet PDFs) interactive worksheets for people to plan their own contributions, clear suggestions about to how pass along the ideas 1:1 (e.g. text or send letters to your friends/family) or on social media, and prompts to encourage other people to write their own books/blogs/etc.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ohh, I like #EnoughForAll (unless the city has a tm on it), and yes, I came up with the pdinfrstrctre hashtag as a working tag in the hope that someone would suggest a better one.

      Ok, so maybe now is the time to open up an editable version of the 3rd draft of the book, so that others can start adding to it?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Feedback #3 – Clarity & Intrigue

    I think it would help to provide the information in the Do Better book/project in a few additional formats that are focused on spreadability and clarity. The book is thoughtful and excellent and will go far in adding legitimacy and clarity, especially for people who have the time and interest to read the whole thing. But you need a lot of people to get on board who aren’t going to read the whole thing. There are people who are very busy or focused on other things or for whom reading isn’t their preferred format of getting information. Probably some of the people who have the most influence are those who are most likely to need the info in extremely digestible formats (e.g. I’m guessing most US Congress members don’t spend a lot of time reading).

    Some of these formats that I’m suggesting could be standalone and some would be excellent to include in the book. I guess an Appendix is the most common place to put extra materials, but if possible, I would put some of this up-front or even on the jacket. Some of this should be about the high-level idea (e.g. elevator pitch) and some should be about the specifics of the key sections.

    a) infographics, some formatted for social media graphics & some that take up a single page or the much longer formats for scrolling online

    b) Some carefully reasoned & edited flow charts/diagrams to show how the different parts of the infrastructure/rights/institutions/phases fit together. Some zoomed in, some big picture. Use scale bars and/or insets to show connections between the diagrams. If you had something like this that was comprehensive enough that all or most chapters could be related back to it, the same diagram could be shown each chapter or as needed, with most grayed out and the current focus highlighted. This would help keep people’s interest, provide visuals which are easier to spread, and people will understand the context better. It’s possible this idea is inspired by the feeling I have when I watch the sci fi adventure show The Expanse, since it takes place in SO many places around the universe & is so complex, and I often wish their scene had a map in the corner – “you are here”. I also think that if it was designed thoughtfully and beautifully (perhaps with a style that was reminiscent of world maps from fantasy books), it could be a great cover for a book (or centerfold map) that could pull in some curious readers. If possible, come up with a slogan or SHORT summary of each phase (a few words), so it is easy for readers to remember and spread it.

    c) Include insets in the book (and elsewhere) that are relevant a variety of people’s personal stories & additional information (e.g. defining concepts, more info on advanced topics). Stories really help to get readers invested. Additionally, people who have had their stories featured are more invested and will want to spread the word. Additionally, you can use those insets to provide quotes by other experts (e.g. about specific research that supports this, or general support/info). I also suggest including thought experiments that help people to think bigger about their & society’s obligations; for example, Peter Singer’s thought experiment about “would you save a drowning child even if it meant ruining your suit” and I’m sure there are other thought experiments that could be developed or found.

    d) Once published, submit a request to be summarized by the Blinkist app (which summarizes books in 15 minute audio and text)

    e) Include a section of reading group discussion topics (can be called a study guide), to appeal to reading groups and professors

    f) Move the sections called “An Overview of Implementing Phase _” to the very beginning. Or if they stay where they are, include very clearly at the beginning a reference to those pages so people can skip to them to start. Also, within these sections, I would suggest starting with a paragraph of the simplest overview you can give. Right now, I feel that the writing takes too much time to explain the crux of the plan. There are quite a few “this will be elaborated in chapter _” or less concrete language like discussion about how the timelines may be adjusted or whether the way that the plan is currently laid out will be changed. All of that is important but it makes it harder to read. Perhaps those parts could be moved to footnotes or subsections like “More Details” or “How This Phase Might Change” or “Responses to Common Objections”. Try to make these overviews (and as much of the book as possible) as easily digestible as possible. From the first paragraph of each, people should understand the outcome & basic strategy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “b) Some carefully reasoned & edited flow charts/diagrams ”

      Jeff, of LandBack, was working on this a month or two ago, but I’ve not heard back from him since letting him know of the 3rd draft being available, so I hope he is ok (caring for family).

      Excellent suggestions, but I’m now totally out of spoons.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Feedback #4 – Clarification Needed
    I didn’t note page numbers or chapters on these, so Ctrl-F will help.

    – Veil of ignorance is mentioned. I’m familiar with it but many people aren’t. Perhaps a diagram or image demonstrating it. By the way, the veil of ignorance is by far the topic in philosophy that has stuck with me the most amongst everything else I’ve learned. I think there is a lot of potential for using it to help more people conceive of how deeply unequal most (all?) systems are.

    -Define “Common climatic”

    – “But without the initial preparation, on the part of every Adult in society” – Are you saying that this project won’t work unless all adults work toward it? If not, clarify the language. If yes, explain how this works, since movements are (to my understanding) generally accomplished by a smaller group of people while everyone else is either too busy/ignorant/distracted/etc to be part of it. Also, why capitalize Adult?

    – Define bedsit

    – Define sortition

    – “Trained to serve in the national protection forces (police or military)” – Police and military are both controversial within the groups that I think are most likely to support your mission (particularly regarding the question of whether they actually protect our nation vs. causing greater harm than good). Whatever your position on those are, you might want to be ready to answer concerns about that, whether on the page in the book or to be ready when communicating with others.

    – Define what debts being time barred means. Which brings me to the question of who is your intended audience with the book? If it’s for people who are already working in related fields and you are trying to get them to dream bigger and work faster, it’s not a big deal to have some unexplained jargon. But if you’re trying to bring as many people in as possible, I suggest explaining this (and in general, figuring out what people do and do not understand). Perhaps eventually you’d want to have two versions, one that is more jargony and expects its audience to mostly understand, and one that is, roughly speaking, a “for dummies” version. Either the second is an expanded version that also includes the full text or it’s a companion, possibly (hopefully) including not just more simple and/or in-depth explanations but also a workbook structure with space to write so people can plan for their role in the movement.

    – How does the “pre-adult” status and the egg cooking test affect people who have mental or physical disabilities that prevent them from fulfilling the tests? E.g. If a person didn’t have functioning limbs, would an accessible tool that allowed them to cause an egg to be made by hitting buttons count? If a person moved to a new region just before they are supposed to do the teaching rite of passage, how does the fact that they may not know the language affect their progress through the process? Who determines if a skill is useful or the project big enough? Also, the fact that it requires such a large time commitment means that people who are working or serving as caregivers means they won’t be as able to complete the rite of passage in a timely fashion, although they are actually doing actions that are very adult.

    – “Each Pre-Adult must learn self-defense” – How will you deal with the challenges of implementation since people vary strongly in beliefs on these subjects. E.g. guns, belief in mental health care, injustices in legal system, etc

    – “Map and compass-based navigation, and thus reading, writing, and mathematics, if possible and agreed upon” – is the “if possible and agreed upon” because some regions might make different choices? To what extent are all of these mandated from above vs decided regionally? How do you ensure that the decision-making is based on a fair voting system? How to deal with the inequality that would develop due to differences between regions that decided differently?

    – “responsibilities might include serving, as many Europeans do, in either the defensive services or unarmed civilian sector services such as hospitals or schools” – Why “Europeans”? Many (most?) countries have military service. If you mean that everyone is mandated to do military service, that should be clarified. Potential concern people might have: militaries often commit atrocities, including for unjustified or corrupt reasons. How does mandating service take that into account? How are conscientious objectors treated?

    “‘Previous or current pilots, experiments, or other examples of partial implementation of similar projects or programs” – Excellent. Examples as concrete as possible helps people to understand and believe. Good to also comment on what you would do differently, what they did right, how it fits into the bigger framework, is this specifically something you’d do or is it just an example of the category, etc.

    – “Each person needs access to…” – How to decide how much. E.g. cut offs like does it include mental health, relaxation, vacation, some indulgences, access to whatever food best fits their needs, ergonomic furniture, etc. Whatever the line is, explain how you decided it & what’s the justification. Some sort of research about what’s needed for basic health/thriving vs what bonus things are diminishing returns (a.k.a good but not so fundamental that they will be invested in by this project)

    – “These four systems are thus inseparably linked” – Be clearer which four systems you’re referring to, so without scrolling up to search the text, it’s fresh in their minds. The insets I mentioned would help so that you can refer to a diagram or table or list.

    – “and the process of learning both sets of skills” say “Learning both critical thinking and empathy” — for clarity instead of referring to “both skills”

    – I suggest changing the titles of the chapters so that they briefly state the summary/point. For example, instead of “How Phase II Helps Win Three of the Four Freedoms” it would be “Phase II Helps Win Three of the Four Freedoms By __”. This way, at a glance through your Table of Contents, the how is more clear and it will be easier to remember and spread. Alternatively, you could keep the chapters titles as is and include a short (e.g. 1-2 sentences) summary under each portion of the table of contents. I’m not sure if I’ve seen a table of contents structured that way, but it seems like it would be useful.

    – You might discuss global efforts in parts of the book I didn’t have a chance to get to, but is this project primarily/only for the US? If so, I would put that detail in the title or a subtitle. For example “​​We Can Do Better: Building an empathy-based United States in about 70 years”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Some of these points are left for the reader to look up, unless later editors which to implement your suggested changes, while other points, like your last point, are meant to be discussed by communities across first the US, and then globally. That is why Phase IV opens up to worldwide work.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Feedback #5 – Citation Needed

    – Examples needed: “alliance spanning multiple generations”
    – Examples and citations needed: “Language learning is also an inexpensive tool for building empathy”
    – “Increasing lack of self-discipline, civility and respect for learning among the young” – If you have evidence for this, provide it. Though I’m skeptical of the ability to accurately compare these traits across youth of different generations so it would have to be some damn strong evidence. However, I would opt for removing this either way. It doesn’t make sense to put down young people because from my understanding, they are the ones who are most likely to engage in activism and have time to dedicate.
    – “basic need for tools, which is what distinguishes Homo Sapiens from other animals” – lots of animals use tools. Also, “sapiens” should be lowercase.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Feedback # 6 – Assorted Suggestions
    – “Wheel-chair bound person”/”lady’s dog snarled at her”:
    a) wheelchair doesn’t have a hyphen.
    b) I would say “woman” or “person” instead of “lady.” Personally, I would opt for “person” because I’m hopeful that the future includes less gendered language in contexts where it isn’t relevant.
    c) From a quick google, it seems that the term “wheelchair bound” is not preferred. However, I know that sometimes there are language-changing movements that aren’t actually reflective of most people in that group (e.g. “Latinx” or the “person with autism”/“autistic person” divide), so I’m not sure about the best practices in this specific case. From my (surface-level) understanding, the reason this word isn’t the right one is because it focuses on the limitation/negative and because it’s a misconception that everyone who uses a wheelchair is unable to ever get up from them.

    – “economic inequality exerts increasing pressure toward injustice on all groups, from the dominant down to the most vulnerable” – Not sure if this is what it’s getting at, but talk about the fact that everyone has ways in which they have advantage and ways they can help others. Everyone can get help and give help.

    – “puts a practical limit on what a person can say” – Replace “say”‘with ~”what resources a person can access and how many of their needs they can satisfy. Mention Maslow or other needs related literature/facts.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Feedback #7 – Additional Thoughts

    – It’s already impressive/ambitious/mindboggling that this book describes such a long project. I think it would be interesting (and more importantly, helpful) to also include a part where you talk about an even longer timespan. For example, a FAQ answer or an appendix section, where you dream/plan about what changes you would want for 700 years later (or even further). This is useful if/when the 70 year version is completed (or approaching completion) and plus the practice of dreaming further can also help inform the course of the 70 year project.

    – I think one of the biggest challenges with getting buy-in on huge and important projects is inertia and skepticism that better is possible. (Corruption/conflicts of interest are also an enormous obstacle.) I think it’s worth figuring out how to use what is already known about how to change minds and move people to action. It’s a huge challenge to move people from thinking a fix/change is unlikely or not worth the effort to seeing it as something they could do or even that they obviously should do it. I was reading Do Better while traveling last month so the example I was reflecting on was the resources that are available in an airport, most of which I think at this point people would consider it standard to have, even at no-cost. E.g. outlets, water fountains, bathrooms, tables. In the bathroom, there were signs about escaping trafficking and in other places I’ve seen posters about labor protections or pamphlets about escaping domestic violence. Since 2020, there is now often an expectation that free basic masks will be available in public spaces for those who don’t have them. All of these seem normal but it’s relatively arbitrary what resources are available-for-free or available-for-money, and figuring out how to get more resources into that of-course-they-should-be-available category would be valuable.

    – Related to getting buy-in and discussed in “It can be argued that unfair treatment of outsiders by members of even a just society affects all members within that society”: How to make most people understand the changes are in THEIR interest too, even if they don’t consider themselves as needing the specific resources. A useful analogy I learned about is the idea of “Drained Pool Politics” (a book by Heather McGhee) which is based on the fact that when it became a requirement for public pools to be integrated, many public pools instead closed or were privatized. It shows how not wanting other people to have what you have can lead to everyone losing. I’m not sure how to overcome this issue, but it’s worth pursuing.

    – “Social justice is one of the more obvious types of justice” – Show how the different kinds of justice are all interconnected (social / economic / environmental justice). I’m not sure whether this is worth discussing explicitly but for what it’s worth, when social justice is promoted over (or treated as separate from) economic justice, the result is “wokism” which is something that many people are frustrated with. Whether it’s discussed directly or not, I think it’s worth considering how the strategy used to increase equality makes actual positive change, makes only small changes, or even perhaps sets back the movement(s). Another example is the way that some environmental movements have focused on what people can do individually (e.g. recycling) instead of aiming most efforts at structural changes via corporate/governmental changes, resulting in insufficient action plus frustration because people have a sense that supporting the environment is about individual sacrifice.

    – “Empathy building efforts are thus on-going through out” – No space in ‘throughout’ and no hyphen in ‘on-going’. But actually the main thing I wanted to say about this was that I had an idea once about a snail mail letter writing campaign where people can share their personal stories and opinions. The context I thought this up in was about progressives explaining their positions & sharing the personal experiences that inform the positions, in letters to regions where the understanding of progressives/leftists is often based on what’s heard via right-wing radio and the like. So that people can get to know those who they don’t tend to meet, so their views of each other are less stereotyped and less through the lens of what others say about the groups. Not sure if this is a good idea (or to be more precise, the right place to put effort), but I’m throwing it out there.

    – “involving interested local communities by having the adolescent…meet with the community” – This kind of community involvement in upbringing is interesting and could increase connections and general life/career success. I do see a risk of the fact that community members have such power. For example, they could use that power to deny LGBTQ+ teens passage through the process, either explicitly or because of prejudice(s) that leads them to “just” give some teens less support. I suppose this is a risk anytime you are having anyone have power over anyone’s life, and there are limits to how much you can prevent people from behaving unethically. However, to the extent that some damage can be mitigated by planning/implementation, it should be. Either way, it’s worth addressing this concern in the text. I suggest doing this via insets that give extra info or address common questions. And/or a FAQ that accompanies each chapter or in the appendix.

    – Regarding references — I dunno if it’s worth the time/effort or makes sense within the context but for what it’s worth, I love when most references in a book have an extra blurb with info or context. It sucks when very few references do and you’re constantly switching to the endnotes and finding most are just the reference info without extra info. But you keep flipping back because some do have the extra info. Personally I really prefer footnotes for that reason. If there’s value to all references being available in one long list (like in endnotes), that could be available on the website. Which actually could be good cuz if they get to that page, you can direct them to take action.

    – Regarding getting a wider group of people using public transport: For this to work, it has to be easier/smoother than driving. It’s really hard to convince people to take action that is deeply inconvenient. It’s necessary to minimize friction and minimize the need for people to force themselves to choose it for the greater good. I suspect that lots of people who drive would rather be using public transportation if it were convenient (cheaper, they don’t need to focus on the road, etc.), or at least they would prefer that more people use public transportation (since then there would be less traffic). I say this because an effort to make this work would (I think) need to dramatically increase the frequency and coverage of public transportation and other things that would make it more convenient. Even though it would be very challenging, I think it would be much more fruitful to focus on that instead of trying to convince people to put up with the inconvenience for the greater good.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Feedback #8 (out of 8) – People to Contact

    Below is some brainstorming about people to contact who might be interested in participating and/or spreading the word. Some are less likely (bigger reaches) than others, but I think it’s worth trying.

    * Poor People’s Campaign, People’s Action, and other progressive groups
    * Peter Singer & the effective altruism movement, including the organization 80,000 Hours
    * Whatever organizations come up when searching the hashtag #NotMeUs
    * Bernie Sanders, Nina Turner, Cenk Uygur, India Walton, Cori Bush, AOC, Jamaal Bowman, etc
    * Reading clubs of assorted related topics
    * Tons of people are writing/talking about infrastructure now
    * Community colleges, Teach for America, and other educational organizations
    * Ancestry/genealogy/storytelling communities (regarding biographies)
    * The Obamas, Oprah, & other prominent influencers whose images are about helping people
    * People/organizations who (non-exploitively) work with or provide resources for poor people, such as homeless shelters, thrift stores, mobile home parks, tiny house people (not the flashy expensive ones), GiveWell
    * Heather McGhee (author of Drained Pool Politics)
    * Author of book Teaching the Elephant to Dance, a book about creating organizational change — not sure if this one is relevant, but I thought I’d mention it
    * Psychologists, sociologists, & other researchers studying empathy and/or poverty
    * Podcasts like the Bad Faith podcast and the Benjamin Dixon podcast — I believe these are both in-line with your goals & also both dream big.

    Additionally, to find media organizations that might be interested in, I would search for where some of the aforementioned people have been profiled or interviewed.

    As much as possible, see if you can connect with the resources and audience of existing organizations/media sources/etc, because it’s (likely) much more efficient and you can meet people where they are at = reducing friction.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Hi Shira, I think that v5 is very readable and there’s been a lot of improvement since the earlier drafts. Of course, it’s hard to know exactly because the more I familiarize myself with it, obviously it becomes clearer. But it was a good experience reading it this week. Here are some specific pieces of feedback:

    —Add “and Equity” (or similar) to the title. As is, it is missing a big piece of the meaning

    —Please use just my first name in the acknowledgments. Thanks!

    —In the preface and introduction, the very first thing should be a short summary (1 paragraph) that explains what this is to someone who has no idea anything about it. I think this could be added to the sentence “the goal of this book…that works for all of us” by adding “, including basic food needs, healthcare, universal basic income, ___, __”.

    —Once published, share this with library groups (e.g. FB groups for librarians or library organizations, or local libraries)

    —Define bedsit

    —Flash mobs & buskers teaching and passing out info is super interesting. It works with the idea of meeting people where they are. People are waiting anyway, so it’s not asking people to go out of their way. Reminds me of how the DMV helped increase organ donation by just asking people when they are getting IDs/drivers licenses.

    —I think the title should refer to the US because the book is mostly about that. Maybe “US edition” to imply that other editions could be made for other countries or regions

    —Instead of “every man, woman, and child”, say “every adult and child” or “for all people, including children.” This is both to avoid excluding non-binary people and because gender isn’t really relevant to most of what is being discussed. (Which isn’t to deny that gender roles mean that satisfying the basic needs may impact people of different genders in somewhat different ways. But I just don’t think it’s relevant to mention gender when really the intended meaning is “adult”)

    —Although “medical marijuana” is a common term, my understanding is that “cannabis” is increasingly preferred to “marijuana” as the latter has roots in prejudice/discrimation against Mexican people

    —“Clearly, the practical use of a single payer system of universal health care system is inestimable, and needs no explaining.” I would remove or rewrite this sentence. I think there is a risk that someone could quote that out of context to undermine the book. I also disagree with the premises. To be clear, I agree with single payer healthcare. But i think the practical uses *have* been estimated (and explained). And I wouldn’t say “need no explaining” because everything needs explaining when someone is new to something. You do plenty of explaining here, so instead of this sentence i would instead acknowledge that the practical uses have been analyzed and in addition to that…then you go on to explain the symbolic benefits too

    —I might have missed this but if you didn’t define single payer, you should the first time you mention it. Obviously it’s a commonly known thing but i have many many times heard people who are aware of universal healthcare (at least as it’s discussed in the US recently; not sure if there are other types of universal healthcares) not know that the term for that is “single payer”

    —“Monetary tools like 1930s stamp scrip…” Add short descriptions in parentheses behind all the tools described in this section.

    —Refers to the patchwork healthcare system we have “now in 2021”. Change this to “at the time of this writing, 2022”

    —“By not inhaling or exhaling particles” – I’m not sure what definition of particles you mean, but I think this is too broad. Dust is a particle. Maybe say “harmful particles”

    —“Alcohol or other substances” – needs a descriptive term in front of “substance” because although that’s colloquially used to mean “drugs”, it has as way broader meaning. Maybe “other intoxicants”? I’m not sure because the different categories of drugs have different ways of referring to them (like i think narcotics only means downers) so I’m not sure the best way to refer to them. You could say “illegal drugs” but I don’t think the legality is the key differentiator.

    —The statement about increasing the availability of different kinds of cannabis meaning that smoking and vaping should decrease: I’m not sure this is true. I think that those are likely to bring in new users, but people tend to have their preferences about method. Cannabis/weed can have totally different effects depending on how it’s used and since people are generally going for a specific effect, it’s not necessarily going to be easily shifted between them. Now given the risk of smoking and the effect on others, perhaps there could be campaigns to encourage people to change how they use weed, but I’m just saying that the change doesn’t necessarily follow from the availability. Also, i think that smoking weed tends to be the less expensive option (though my guess would need to be fact-checked) so perhaps a way to encourage the other uses would be to have some sort of policies about the other methods being subsidized. Sounds complicated to make happen, but so is everything in this plan 🙂

    —“Your health is Our health” – has inconsistent capitalization

    —“The costs, however, in individual lost outright…” the end of the sentence is ambiguous. The word “see” can be used to mean “what most people are aware of” or “what actually results”. Depending on which of these you mean, clarify the language. I assume it’s the former, but it’s ambiguous enough to undercut the message

    — “As for the practical uses of the various types of free education…it hardly seems necessary to describe them.” Again, this seems like it could be clipped out of context (or even just stand out in the mind of someone who reads it, and forgets that you did describe the practical outcomes). A common criticism I’ve heard of free higher education is that it leads to an inflation of education (ie. higher levels become required for basic jobs). I think that’s a bad argument because a) there’s value to more education and b) having money be what determines who goes to school has negative consequences including worsening class divides and adding stress. Whether you agree with those reasons or not, i think briefly addressing the common criticisms would help. Maybe in an appendix.

    —About UBI: “when the adults in their lives fail them”. Replace “when’ with “if”. You might also add “or are unable to provide” since adults failing children is probably too specific to apply to all of the cases in which a child would need to support themselves.

    —Speaking of which, I don’t think it’s been mentioned in this book and perhaps it’s too much to write in now but another benefit of basic needs being met is more often families being able to stay together. I suppose that’s probably true of romantic relationships (like fewer divorces) since money stress is a common cause, but there is also the fact that many people who give up their kids for adoption report it being due to being unable to financially support them. Additionally, I believe that one of the factors that determines whether kids in foster care can be reunified with their biological family (which is widely considered the best outcome when possible) is financial stability of the biological family.

    —Very compelling last several sentences. Good ending!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll address the rest later, but the definition of ‘bedsit’ was something I wanted to leave to each community. Generally (in the UK) it is a private room with kitchenette and shared bathroom, but that can vary, and it should vary according to the resources of each community. So they should define it.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I understand that the specifics should be left up to communities but for the purposes of the book, it would help to have at least a general definition. I was completely unfamiliar with the term; I don’t remember hearing it except for in your book. And since it seems to be a more common word in the UK than the US, and since most of this book focuses on the US, a (general) definition would help more of the potential audience to understand that what you’re talking about is basic living accommodations.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Reblogged this on The Nature-led Life and commented:
    Please help Shira Dest and others by joining their community project of creating a book and partnership to “Do Better” (formerly known as Baby Acres) Beta Readers are needed, a logo design is needed and more. See this landing page for more details to put a floor under poverty.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Reblogged this on Stella, oh, Stella and commented:
    Shira from “Inspiring critical thinking” has made the enormous effort to write a project for the improvement of society in four phases, the plan and the implementation. It is based on the circumstances in the U.S., but can be adapted to other countries/continents. Maybe the project or other publications on her site will be of interest to you.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Hi, Shira, I am through with chapter 8 and could not find anything about the taxes you mentioned. In fact I searched the whole text for it and couldn’t find it.
    I have some remarks to chapter 8 that I will formulate and post later tonight. Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Tobin Tax?
      No, I didn’t mention any specific policies, like that one, for the most part, because I wanted to leave that up to communities.

      Then I realized that some large over-arching/international level policies, like the Tobin Tax, cannot be implemented at the local or regional level, and might be forgotten by communities, since they mostly work on their own levels, and don’t see the big picture.

      I just didn’t want to get into the can of worms involved in recommending specific policies I won’t be around to help explain later. But this one might be worth mentioning in the book.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Please find below my thoughts to chapter 8. I hope they are not completely useless.

        Remarks to chapter 8:
        I think it would be best to have a minimum set of general prerequisites, so that serving adults could easily move from one community to the other.
        Any decision making in assemblies or other decision or law making bodies should always be made in a group of at least 5 persons. Not one person alone should be able to veto decisions (as I understand the President of the USA can (is that understood correctly?)) or have the last word on a decision.
        The United States have a long history of private charities, without which the country might look a lot worse. So I think that social awareness is definitely not unknown to Americans. Therefore, I think that finding persons willing to be serving adults will not be entirely difficult.
        As far as the rites of passage are concerned, I was thinking about the scouts movement, where young people from an early age learn social behaviour. They do compete with each other and recognition is done in the shape of medals. On the other hand, they also learn how to achieve goals together, in a group. For the highest recognition, the eagle scout, they have to do a special project for their community. First they have to find a project that would serve the community; then they have to find sponsors; and then they have to find people, who are willing to help them. You know, I am not American, so I don’t know whether the scout movement in America is elitist or not. It was certainly not meant like that by the founder of the movement. I thought of the scouts immediately when I read about the quests for the rites of passage. So I think the idea will not be completely alien to people.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ok, so this means that the general idea of chapter 8 works (sorry, I’d typed a longer response and lost it, having been knocked offline as I replied!).

          Scouting is a start, but the highest awards should be a beginning to public service, not merely an individual accomplishment.
          Girl Scouts probably exemplifies these ideas better, here in the US, as positions have changed significantly between the two organizations.


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